Monday, June 30, 2008

Whispers in the Graveyard

WHISPERS IN THE GRAVEYARD; Theresa Breslin; London: Egmont, 2007; 182p. Juvenile/Young Adult fiction.

Solomon is dyslexic, the butt of jokes from classmates and an abusive teacher. His mother has left; his father is alternately a cheerful pal and a mean drunk, and he takes such solace as he can find in the graveyard among the cool shadows and ancient stones. But one part of the cemetery is frightening beyond the usual--nothing lives there except an ancient rowan tree, no birds, no flowers, nothing. When workers come through to move the bodies to make way for a diversion canal, they pull up the rowan, and something is unleashed. Is it the smallpox that killed many of the people buried there? or something older and even more ominous? Whispers in the Graveyard is intense and frightening, a good choice for older elementary age children and young adults who ask for something "really scary." The book has just a bit of strong language, but also many good messages: hard things can be overcome; work hard and do the best you can; don't run from trouble, especially when you can help someone else. Winner of the Carnegie Medal (UK) for the year's outstanding book for children.

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